Jefferson and Washington monuments

A Letter of Apology After a Guilty Verdict

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure

  After finding my client guilty of simple assault, the judge orders my client to write a letter of apology to the complaining witness. I can understand an apology after a guilty plea.  After all, acknowledgment of remorse could be an important part of the rehabilitation process.  What I don’t understand is the need for an apology after the defendant …

Aerial view of DC

On the Defendant’s Acceptance of Responsibility at Sentencing

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, DUI and Driving Offenses, Sentencing

Earlier this week, I caught the tail-end of a DWI trial in which Michael Bruckheim was representing the defendant. Bruckheim had attended portions of my last DWI trial in D.C., and I decided to repay the favor. I wanted to see him cross examine the same police officer who had testified in my case. And, recognizing that everyone has a …

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Alternative Treatment for First-Time Drug Offenders in D.C.

Jamison Koehler Drug Offenses

With first-time offender treatment in D.C. generally restricted to marijuana possession, prosecutors frequently offer consideration under Section 48-904.01(e) of the D.C. Code as an alternative to taking a case to trial. Depending on the case, treatment under the Section can in fact be the preferred option for people charged with first-time possession of cocaine and other illegal drugs. However, unlike …

Jefferson and Washington monuments

Second Chances in Virginia

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure

  Here, for free, is my simple legal advice: Whatever you do, don’t get arrested in Virginia. The Commonwealth is, as far as I can tell, one of the worst places to find yourself when facing criminal charges. The laws are tough, and judges, prosecutors and juries are typically unforgiving.  Offenses that would be considered akin to a traffic infraction …

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On The Terminology and Fiction of Juvenile Justice

Jamison Koehler Juveniles

As a public defender in Philadelphia, I did a brief stint in the Juvenile Division representing young people accused of committing a crime. People told me before I started the rotation that I would either love working with juveniles or hate it; there didn’t seem to be any in-between. I found myself in the “love-it” category. Although I would have …

U.S. Capitol building

The “Jury Trial Tax”: The Penalty for Insisting on a Jury Trial

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Law Practice

It is a sad but well-known fact among criminal defense lawyers in many jurisdictions that if you insist on a jury trial and lose, you will get a stiffer penalty than if you lose the same case in front of a judge.  That’s right:  Same facts.  Same verdict.  Different sentence. This is a variation of the so-called “trial tax,” which …